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The Dow Jones Industrial Average today closed flat despite a surge in oil prices after the OPEC meeting in Austria.
The U.S. private sector also added 216,000 jobs in November, a figure that surpassed economists' expectations.
The report suggests that Friday's official employment report by the U.S. Labor Department will show even greater strength in the jobs market than analysts have forecast.
Let's look at the numbers from Wednesday for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:
Dow Jones: 19,123.38; 1.78; +0.01%
S&P 500: 2,198.81; -5.85; -0.27%
Nasdaq: 5,323.68; -56.24; -1.05%
Now, here's a look at today's most important market events and stocks, plus a preview of Thursday's economic calendar.
DJIA Today: Oil Prices Surge
The Dow Jones finished the day flat after OPEC announced it had struck a deal to cap excessive crude oil production. Shares of Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) gained more than 2.5% today, and Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) climbed over 2%. Today's biggest influencer on the sector was Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL), which saw its shares climb over 11%.
Gold prices fell by more than 1% on Wednesday as investors continued to push into equities and the dollar continued to rally. Gold prices fell about 7% in November, the worst single month for the precious metal since June 2013. There is a lot of optimism in the markets, and gold is seen by many as a hedge or a form of security in times of pessimism. But the Donald Trump presidency has a long way to go, and we see a future where gold prices are set to rise.
The WTI crude oil price today is now near $49 per barrel. The big gains came from the November OPEC deal. Crude prices surged on reports that OPEC reached an agreement to reduce production and support prices. Traders covered short positions after Saudi Arabia announced it would reduce its production to get its cartel rival Iran to accept a deal. The cartel is trying to reach its first official production agreement since 2008 in a bid to raise global crude oil prices to at least $55 per barrel.
The WTI crude oil price today added nearly 8%, while the Brent crude oil price gained 7.9%.
The other big development today was the announcement by President-elect Trump, who says he will step away from his business ventures and focus extensively on his presidential duties. Trump has planned a conference on Dec. 15 with his family to outline his plan to remove any conflicts of interest between his duties in the White House and the global brand he has built.
The other major Trump development is that Carrier (a heating and air conditioning company) announced it would keep 1,000 jobs in the United States that it had intended to outsource. Many are wondering if Trump had a direct influence on the company's decision. It is worth noting that Carrier's owner is United Technology Corp. (NYSE: UTX), which is a major defense contractor for the U.S. government. Some are speculating the government may use leverage on firms that rely on government contracts to keep their other businesses in the United States. Others worry that any CEO who threatens to leave the United States could receive payment to stay.
Top Stock Market News Today, Nov. 30, 2016
- Shares of GoPro Inc. (Nasdaq: GPRO) added more than 3% after the company announced plans to slash 15% of its global workforce. The firm also said it would exit the entertainment industry. Of course, Money Morning readers know that reducing your company is not a good sign. And we've long told our avid readers to avoid GPRO stock. In fact, earlier this month we called the stock's massive slump before its dismal Q3 quarterly earnings report. Instead of GoPro, we recommend that you check out our latest list of stocks to buy.
- Shares of American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE: AEO) plunged more than 12% after the company topped quarterly earnings expectations but signaled the company would face a difficult holiday quarter. The downturn is the latest sign of sharp weakness in the brick-and-mortar side of the U.S. retail industry. Money Morning Global Credit Strategist Michael Lewitt explains that Black Friday was a disaster for companies like American Eagle. But you can make real money from the demise of traditional retail shopping. Michael outlines the best way to profit from the technological shift in the retail space and invites you to learn more about his secret weapon to capture a whole new round of profits. Read it, here.
- Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) received another round of bad holiday news today. According to Nielsen ratings, the firm lost another 555,000 subscribers for ESPN last month. That means the channel has lost 1.176 million subscribers in two months. The channel has been hemorrhaging subscribers over the last year due to increased costs and viewers who had expressed dissatisfaction with the channel's politicization of sports. Here's what's next for DIS stock.
- After the bell, look for additional earnings reports from Box Inc. (NYSE: BOX), Guess? Inc. (NYSE: GES), PVH Corp. (NYSE: PVH) and La-Z-Boy (NYSE: LZB).
Thursday's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EST)
- Challenger Job-Cut Report at 7:30 a.m.
- Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m.
- Gallup Good Jobs Rate at 8:30 a.m.
- Cleveland Federal Reserve President Loretta Mester speaks at 8:30 a.m.
- PMI Manufacturing Index at 9:45 a.m.
- Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index at 9:45 a.m.
- ISM Manufacturing Index at 10 a.m.
- Construction Spending at 10 a.m.
- EIA Natural Gas Report at 10:30 a.m.
- 3-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 6-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 52-Week Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- Fed Balance Sheet at 4:30 p.m.
- Money Supply at 4:30 p.m.
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